Open Works: Tools and Tech for the People

With wood and metal shops, 3-D printing, an electronics lab and textile studios, Open Works is a makerspace where Baltimore City residents can access the tools, technology and classes they need to nurture their inner creator — and even launch a new career.

 

Located in a 34,000-square-foot former distribution warehouse on Greenmount Avenue, Open Works offers monthly memberships and day passes, as well as a range of classes for teens, adults and seniors. Staff members also bring Open Works tools and technology to Baltimore city and county public schools.

 

Open Works’ visitors’ and members’ backgrounds vary, proving the need for such a space, said Laura Cohen ’09 (Community Arts M.F.A.), education manager at Open Works since it opened in 2016.

 

“Our mission is to make tools and technology accessible to all,” she said. “We have architects and contractors come in who just want access to the shops, and then we have some folks who I don’t think have touched anything in a wood shop since middle school, if that.”

 

Cohen said she is especially proud of Open Works’ senior programs, where participants learn sewing and woodworking skills, and the Teen Maker Entrepreneurship Program, where teens from area high schools visit Open Works twice a week for five months. After taking a safety and certification course, they make projects like gumball machines, shadow boxes and pajama sets.

 

In addition to promoting a spirit of collaboration, Open Works’ programs put the “entrepreneurship power back into folks’ hands, something people are really wanting right now,” Cohen said.

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